Preview: Italy v Canada

Italy got the job done with maximum points from their opener against Namibia but they will have to step it up against Canada in Fukuoka on Thursday.

Italy got the job done with maximum points from their opener against Namibia but they will have to step it up against Canada in Fukuoka on Thursday.

The Azzurri ran in seven tries in total against the Welwitschias, but could have had plenty more but for a lack of accuracy.

They now face a Canadian side which has not yet made its entrance into the tournament and will be keen to make an impression.

Conor O’Shea has made ten changes for the game, including resting skipper Sergio Parisse, but having mixed and matched his team during the warm-up matches, the team still has a strong feel to it.

Dean Budd takes on the captaincy, as he did this summer, linking up with David Sisi in the second row, while in the back row Sebastian Negri and Jake Polledri are named on the flanks.

Callum Braley comes in at scrum-half and partners Tommaso Allan, who is again named at fly-half, while there is a noteworthy selection at inside centre where Jayden Hayward gets the nod, his first Test start at centre.

That allows Matteo Minozzi to come back into the team at full-back, while Michele Campagnaro will get his first chance of the competition.

Canada v Italy, Thursday September 25, Fukuoka, 8:45AM Kick off (BST)

Italy coach Conor O’Shea: “Our first aim is to trust the team and I am sure as you will see on Thursday is much better in how we execute our play better than we did on Sunday (when they beat Namibia 47-22).

“It was a choice we made before the first match to balance out the teams over the two matches. We did it during the warm-up matches. I have confidence in all our players and all our players are worth a place in the team. This is the best team for the match.

Italy captain Dean Budd: “I played in Canada for six months in 2010 and they are massively physical. Those first scrums and first contacts and driving mauls will be interesting. We know we have to match them or it will be a long day at the office.

“I’ve said many times over the last few months it is the best time of my career. To captain my country in a World Cup is the best moment of my career.”

Canada coach Kingsley Jones: “I thought Italy got better as that game went on and they managed the conditions particularly well. They made a few changes to their team, but what we can’t do is get lost in ourselves and beat ourselves up.

“We’ve got to prepare well and, yes, we will try a couple of things like every team does against opposition of this level but, ultimately, it’s about us playing to our best. I felt the team’s grown with each training session.

“We’ve seen huge improvements in every department and we have just got to look forward at challenging ourselves against a very good Italian team and see where we’re at.”

It is a sign of the esteem in which Tommaso Allan is held that he starts this second successive game for Italy. The Benetton fly-half has really come of age on the international stage, and was even being talked up by skipper Dean Budd for his recent performances.

He will go up against Peter Nelson, better known for his performances in the back three during his time at Ulster, but now given the task of pulling the strings from ten for Canada. It will be a big test for Nelson given Allan’s form over the last year.


Canada: 15. Patrick Parfrey, 14. Jeff Hassler, 13. Ben Lesage, 12. Nick Blevins, 11. DTH van der Merwe, 10. Peter Nelson, 9. Gordon McRorie, 1. Hubert Buydens, 2. Eric Howard, 3. Matt Tierney, 4. Conor Keys, 5. Josh Larsen, 6. Michael Sheppard, 7. Lucas Rumball, 8. Tyler Ardron

Replacements: 16. Benoit Piffero, 17. Djustice Sears-Duru, 18. Jake Ilnicki, 19. Luke Campbell, 20. Matt Heaton, 21. Jamie McKenzie, 22. Ciaran Hearn, 23. Andrew Coe

Italy: 15. Matteo Minozzi, 14. Tommaso Benvenuti, 13. Michele Campagnaro, 12. Jayden Hayward, 11. Giulio Bisegni, 10. Tommaso Allan, 9. Callum Braley, 1. Andrea Lovotti, 2. Luca Bigi, 3. Simone Ferrari, 4. David Sisi, 5. Dean Budd, 6. Sebastian Negri, 7. Jake Polledri, 8. Braam Steyn

Replacements: 16. Federico Zani, 17. Nicola Quaglio, 8. Marco Riccioni, 19. Federico Ruzza, 20. Maxime Mbandà, 21. Guglielmo Palazzani, 22. Carlo Canna, 23. Mattia Bellini